Yesterday, after taking my family swimming at the pool in my home town, I took a trip around memory lane. Yes, I use the word "around" purposely because this particular trip took us around Owl Square in Odem, TX. As I drove, I couldn't help but think about the numerous times I, and others, had to run around this square of road. I hated each mile because I am not a runner. Running does not lead me to that happy place of extra blood flow and endorphins pumping. It hurts me, but I digress.
Owl Square is one square mile, which, in my day, contained all of the facilities of Odem-Edroy Independent School District. Every year, when I visit my parents, I drive around the square to see what changes have been made at my alma mater.
The changes are significant.
No longer are there the wide-open playgrounds where as an elementary school student I played flag football and soccer. I can remember taking a soccer ball to the face more than once, and I recall how we had a goal of being able to kick said ball into the tennis courts at the far end of one of those playgrounds. I'm not sure why this was such a thrill to do as a kick onto the tennis courts resulted in an automatic appropriation of the ball by the teacher and an end of the game. Yet, as kids are wont to do, the thrill came before the thought of consequences.
A band hall now stands on one of those playgrounds and a computer lab on another. It's hard to picture kids these days having the absolute freedom to play such games like we once did.
Most of the playground equipment I grew up on is gone as well. Honestly, that's not such a bad thing. Those monkey bars resulted in more than a few bruises and several broken arms that I'm aware of. Yet, we learned caution and care when traversing such things--an art form my children have a tougher time learning due to all the safety regulations these days.
The actual school buildings I attended are still there, but they have been surrounded by more additions. My little school doesn't look as little with these additions. As I mentioned before: a band hall, a computer lab, junior high expansion, a high school science lab, new softball and baseball field, and a new gymnasium.
That's pretty significant expansion for one of the poorest school districts in the state. How did we ever manage without such things back in the day, 20 years ago? It's amazing so many of my friends from high school have gone on to be so productive considering the disadvantage we had compared to larger, more wealthy school districts.
Now, of course, that comment was a bit sarcastic in nature. One thing I know about those I went through school with, there is a reason we were called "Scrappin' Owls." We scrapped. We clawed. We worked--well, some of us slacked off, at least in Spanish class. It wasn't going to make a difference to us if we didn't have all the extra facilities and stuff. We had teachers who helped us dream. Who taught not to the test but to the reality of life and education and college preparation. Their names still resonate with me: McWhorter, Davenport, Higginbotham, Toomey, McKinney, Cass, Lugaresi, Bucholz, and of course, my dad: Haug. (Sorry to slight my junior high and elementary school teachers. I do remember you too, but one must remember audiences have shorter attention spans now-a-days. They tend to get lost in a litany of names. Don't worry, Mom, you rank right up there!)
I've come into contact with many of my friends from high school on Facebook, and they're all making their way through this world. They're all contributing to society and doing stuff that makes the world go round. Not necessarily anything earth shattering, but important stuff in it's own right. And a lot of the foundation for doing what they and I are doing was laid right there at Owl Square--where I just took another trip around memory lane.